Town Category: Queensland
Chinchilla, QueenslandTown in Queensland, Australia
The town (approximately 300 kilometres (190 mi) west-northwest of Brisbane) was established in 1877. As the railway pushed west across the Darling Downs from Toowoomba and Dalby, a temporary construction camp was established on the banks of Charley's Creek which developed into a town.
Agriculture is the mainstay of the community, with beef and pork production, wool growing, and horticulture traditionally underwriting the local economy. However, with the recent resources boom, the Kogan Creek Power Station (and other coal and gas projects) have begun to inject welcome cash into the town and Chinchilla is experiencing mass growth and development. House prices in Chinchilla have boomed as a result of the need to house new workers.
Baranggum (also known as Barrunggam, Barunggam Parrungoom, Murrumgama) is an Australian Aboriginal language spoken by the Baranggum people. The Baranggum language region includes the landscape within the local government boundaries of the Western Downs Regional Council, particularly Dalby, Tara, Jandowae and west towards Chinchilla.
Mandandanji (also known as Mandandanyi, Mandandanjdji, Kogai) is an Australian Aboriginal language spoken by the Mandandanji people. The Mandandanji language region includes the landscape within the local government boundaries of the Maranoa Regional Council, particularly Roma, Yuleba and Surat, then east towards Chinchilla and south-west towards Mitchell and St George.
Chinchilla Post Office opened on 3 January 1878.
The town was part of the Shire of Chinchilla local government entity from 1912, formed after splitting from the Shire of Wambo, until 2008 when it amalgamated with the Town of Dalby and the Shires of Murilla, Tara and Wambo and the southern part of Taroom to form the Western Downs Region.
The Chinchilla War Memorial was originally located near the railway overpass and was unveiled on 30 January 1919 by the Queensland Governor, Hamilton Goold-Adams. In 1977 it was substantially refurbished and relocated to the Returned and Services League of Australia club and was unveiled on 17 March 1979.
St Joseph's School opened on 29 January 1923.
The Warwick Public Library opened in 1999 with a major refurbishment in 2012 and a minor refurbishment in 2016.
According to the 2016 Census of Population, there were 6,612 people in Chinchilla.
- Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people made up 5.8% of the population.
- 80.2% of people were born in Australia. The next most common country of birth was New Zealand at 1.6%.
- 84.5% of people spoke only English at home.
- The most common responses for religion were Catholic 20.1%, Anglican 20.1% and No Religion 18.7%.
Chinchilla has a number of heritage-listed sites, including:
- 57 Heeney Street: Chinchilla Digger Statue
- First and second Chinchilla cemeteries 
- Chinchilla Court House 
- Chinchilla Hospital Complex 
- Chinchilla Railway Complex 
- Chinchilla War Memorials (including Anzac Park and Googs Memorial) 
- Speculation Oil Well & Camp 
Chinchilla has four schools (one state high school, one state primary school, and two private primary schools) that cater from prep to year 12:
- Chinchilla State School, which opened on 22 January 1883 and celebrated its centenary in 1983.
- Chinchilla Christian College (170 students), which opened on 1 January 1983. Chinchilla Christian College caters from Prep - Year 12.
- St Joseph's School (170 students), which opened on 29 January 1923.
- Chinchilla State High School, a government secondary (7-12) co-educational secondary which opened on 29 January 1963. As of 2014, had 524 students and 43 teachers (42 full-time equivalent)
Leichhardt House is a hostel that provides accommodation for students from homes in remote areas.
The Chinchilla Grandfather Clock Campdraft is a major event held every October, where entrants compete for the Grandfather Clock prize. Chinchilla also hosts horse races four times a year.
Chinchilla Melon Festival
As Chinchilla produces 25% of Australia's melons (including watermelon, rockmelon and honeydew), the first Chinchilla Melon Festival  was held in 1994 by local producers and businessmen, to lift the town's spirits after the severe drought experienced in the early 1990s. Estimated numbers at the first Festival were approximately 2,500 which grew to an estimate that there were 10,000 visitors on the main day of the 2011 festival.
In 2009, the Melon Festival won the Queensland Regional Achievement and Community Award for Tourism Event.
The Festival features interactive and unique events, such as Melon Skiing, Melon Bungee, Melon Bullseye, Melon Ironman, Melon Chariot, a pip spitting competition, and melon eating races. A special event held in 2009 saw John Allwood secure the Guinness World Record of Melon Head Smashing - cracking open as many watermelons as possible using only the head. Currently his record is 47 melons in a minute.
Chinchilla has a Cultural Centre, which includes a 700-seat auditorium, cinema and function room, outdoor patio, theatrette, plus bar and kitchen facilities. Also included in the complex are the White Gums Art Gallery and the Library.
Chinchilla White Gums Art Gallery houses a new display every month.
The Western Downs Regional Council operates a public library in Chinchilla at 80-86 Heeney Street.
Tourism and recreation
Chinchilla is one of the towns located on the Warrego Highway, which is a main highway leading out west to Charleville, and a popular tourist route. The mainstays of Chinchilla's tourism industry are the Historical Museum, fishing and fossicking for petrified wood. 'Chinchilla Red' petrified wood is unique to the area, and known for its colour and quality. The Chinchilla White Gum (Eucalyptus argophloia) is also unique to the area, and can be seen on some of the tourist drives which are marked around the region.
An accredited Visitor Information Center is located on the Highway.
Chinchilla has a range of sports facilities and a variety of sports clubs. Chinchilla Aquatic Centre houses an indoor 25m heated pool, an outdoor 50m pool and a gymnasium. The Chinchilla Family Sports Centre provides facilities for many sports and clubs. There are also clubs and facilities for touch football, rugby league, cricket, tennis, squash, motocross, gymnastics, indoor netball, taekwondo, football and lawn bowls. A fishing club, Pony Club, and shooting range also operate in the area. In addition, there are Polocrosse grounds, a race track, and 9 hole golf course. A Multipurpose Sports Centre Stadium is currently being developed.
Rebel FM 97.1 (formerly Sun FM) was Chinchilla's first commercial FM radio station. Rebel FM has a new rock & classic rock music format. Rebel FM's sister station, The Breeze broadcasts on 95.5 FM with an easy adult contemporary & classic hits format. Both stations are part of the Gold Coast-based Rebel Media Group which operates a radio network that reaches the Gold Coast and South Brisbane to many centres throughout regional and outback Queensland.
In 2018, Chinchilla won a national competition run by Wotif to create the Next Big Thing as a new tourist attraction. The 8-metre (26 ft) long melon was installed next to the town's information centre in November 2018.
Chinchilla has its own hospital, with an emergency ward, maternity ward and operating theatre. It can also care for long stay patients, and has other services such as social work, child health, physiotherapy, dietician, speech therapy, occupational therapy, mental health, community health services, a women's clinic and an x-ray facility.
In town, there is also a private dental practice, along with the public dental hospital. Five general practitioners operate in the area, along with an occupational therapist, optometrist, podiatrist, physiotherapists and chiropractors.
Chinchilla is connected to Brisbane, Toowoomba and Roma by the Warrego Highway. Greyhound Australia operates bus services daily between Brisbane and Miles via Chinchilla. Bus Queensland operates 2-3 daily bus services between Brisbane and Mount Isa via Longreach and Charleville, and three buses a week between Toowoomba and Rockhampton, along the Dawson Highway. Murrays Coaches also operates a daily service to and from Brisbane. The Westlander train also comes through Chinchilla twice a week, on its way between Brisbane and Charleville. As it is a small town, there is no public transport (besides a taxi), although many coal and gas companies run contracted buses out to their sites.
- John Gleeson, rugby league player
- David Littleproud, Australian Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources (2017–present) 
- George Miller, film producer 
- Pete Murray, Australian folk/country singer, grew up in Chinchilla.
- Dean Ray, singer/performer
- Nathan Reardon, cricketer
- Ben Ross, rugby league player
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- "School Profile". My School. 2017. Retrieved 3 February 2018.[permanent dead link]
- "2014 School Annual Report" (PDF). Chinchilla State High School. Archived (PDF) from the original on 9 March 2016. Retrieved 4 April 2016.
- "Chinchilla". Tafe Queensland South West. Archived from the original on 3 February 2018. Retrieved 3 February 2018.
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- Chinchilla Melon Festival Official Website
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